Category Archives: Journal

Hello! I’m Richard and I’m Not Dying!

That’s a weird title I know. Let me explain. For the last year and a half, about once a week, I thought I was going to die. I had this recurring chest pain that made me think I was having a heart attack. I dealt with the pain for about three months and then suffered a panic attack on a trip and thought I was done for. The friend (Thanks Tony) I was with took me to the emergency room in Louisiana and had me checked out. When we checked in my blood pressure was through the roof. They ran the tests and confirmed I in fact was NOT having a heart attack. They said it was acidreflux issue and gave me some meds (Thanks to Dairy Queen Chicken Strips and gravy for that). They doctored me up and sent me on my way.

But the panic attacks continued from that point forward. Each time the chest pain started I just knew, “This is it. I’m done for. Life is over.” And I had really convinced myself (The Mind Is Powerful) that life wasn’t worth living because I could go at any moment. Why bother, right?

I checked out on a lot of things in life. It is tough to look back on.

I went to the doctor. He checked me out. Sent me to a cardiologist. All clear there. Talked about medicating my anxiety and depression (Did I mention that depression had set in?). I filled the prescription but never took the pills. The side effects seemed to severe to my wife and I. Back to the doctor several more times. The chest pain was still there.

The anxiety lessened over time. I didn’t die from the chest pain for over a year and the cardiologist said I was good. So that helped…a little.  Early morning walks helped too.

Still I couldn’t shake the pain. I finally convinced my doc to send me to a gastroenterologist. We finally found the problem. I have a condition called EE that is a hardening and thickening of the esophagus caused by an allergic reaction to certain foods. The doc said the lining of my esophagus had turned plastic. What? PVC man! The condition can be treated with a steroid medication and a food elimination diet.

So that is what I am doing. Sipping steroids and eliminating everything that is good from my diet. No dairy, nuts, eggs, fish, soy,  or bread. So now I am a meat eating vegetarian. I hope this helps. This is punishment for eating a bowl of ice cream every night of my life.

If you have read this far thanks for sticking with me.  As you might have guessed I’m still here and kicking. I’m not dead…yet. I know that death comes to us all but what a relief to know that the chest pain I have dealt with for over a year is not going to be the immediate cause of my demise.

Even today, I was diagnosed yesterday, the pain in my chest is less intense. Crazy I know! But I fully believe that has to do with the power of the mind. You see for a over a year I told myself that I was done for so why even try. I had defeated myself in my mind.

So, today I have made the decision to tell myself and my family a different story. Life is worth living and it is worth living well.

What story are you telling yourself? Is it driving you forward or holding you back?

Now to just get past this mid-life crisis I am in the middle of. Anybody wanna go for a ride in my red convertible?

If you are struggling with issues of the mind tell yourself a different story. Find a friend to talk to. Have them hold you accountable to a new life story.

You can do it. I know you can.

I believe it was Andy Dufrense that said,”Get busy livin or get busy dyin.”

I am ready to get busy livin!!

God Bless!


A Step Past Hard

What if you went a step past hard in everything?

Your morning run. You say one mile will be hard. Go one mile and one step.

Your work. You have a long list to do. It looks hard. Do the list and one more thing.

Eating Right. You believe it is hard to avoid the ice cream. So avoid the ice cream and eat some broccoli.

Each of these are examples of a step past hard. If you go an extra step everyday on your run then pretty soon you will be going two miles.

If you avoid ice cream long enough and eat enough broccoli then you will be healthy. Well, healthier than you were before.

My point is, anything worth doing is on the other side of hard.

So step past hard every day and you will see some amazing things happen in your life.

I once thought about writing a book called A Step Past Hard. Two hundred pages of how to step past hard. But, in all honesty, that would be a waste of trees. You have everything here you need to reach your next goal.

  1. Define what hard is in respect to that goal.
  2. Go one step past hard.
  3. Repeat Every Day
  4. Reach the goal and then set the next one.

Have a great day as you step through hard.

8 Ways To Help a Friend Suffering with Depression

A 2015 report from the Child Mind Institute found that only about 20 percent of young people with diagnosable anxiety disorder get treatment. That means that many of your friends in class and on campus who struggle with depression and other mental disorders are not getting help.

Combine that with another survey that suggests that 1 in 5 students has considered the possibility of suicide and we have a lot of hurting people around us. You may know some of these who are hurting. You may have experienced a friend that wanted to commit suicide.

What did you do?

How did you handle the situation?   

Were you able to help?

I hope you were able to provide help to this friend that was hurting. But some of you may not know what to do. I wanted to provide for you some ways to help a friend or friends who are suffering under the weight of depression.

Here is a list of some ideas. Feel free to leave a comment and add some other ideas if you have them.

  1. Be there to listen. Make conversations about what they’re going through easy and open. Ask them what you can do – find out what they find helpful during tough times. Make sure you acknowledge they are feeling down but try and remain positive and encouraging. Send them notes of encouragement. Send them texts to help them get through the day.
  2. Choose when to talk. If you want to bring up a sensitive issue with someone, try and choose a time when you are both relaxed.
  3. Accept their condition. If someone is suffering from symptoms of depression, it isn’t possible for them to just snap out of it, cheer up, or forget about it. Asking them to do this can come across like you’re not taking their feelings seriously and could upset them. It is difficult for someone who has never been through depression to understand what it is like. If there was an instantaneous solution the person would have already done that to be well. It just does not work that way. Add an extra measure of compassion when you are helping a person suffering from depression.
  4. Get informed. Finding out more info about depression might help you better understand what someone is going through. There are various website, books, and blogs that can help you become informed about the situation your friend is in.
  5. Encourage them to get help. If you have a friend with depression, it’s really important that they seek help. It is a good first step to have them speak with their counselor if you are on a school campus. It is also a good idea to have them visit their medical doctor. Sometimes there are some real physical problems that can cause depression. If no solution is found down that avenue then their medical doctor can help them take the next step. If they are uncomfortable you might offer to go with them as an encouragement and support system.
  6. Back down if they aren’t ready. If you think a friend needs to visit an expert but they didn’t respond well to the suggestion, don’t force the issue or put too much pressure on them – it could put them off getting help. Remain supportive by offering help and suggestions when asked.
  7. The exception to #6 is if you think someone may be in danger or at risk of hurting themselves or someone else. In this case it’s important that you seek help immediately.
  8. Finally, remember that depression is hard to explain and often a very lonely experience. When you are there to support a friend just by being available it can have a tremendous impact in their lives. Never underestimate the importance of just being there.

What other ideas do you have? How can you better help a friend who is going through a dark period in life?
Feel free to comment.

This Weeks Message:

5 Sentences That Will Improve Your Journal Routine

Every year I take up a New Year’s resolution on January 1st. That resolution usually lasts until January 15th and then I either give up on it or forget about it all together. So this year I am trying to jump start the New Year by starting new activities in December. Two weeks ago I started a new diet.  Read about it here.

Since I have been successful for two weeks with the new diet I figured I could start something else new as well. In this case it is a restart. You see up until last summer I was consistent at journaling. I learned a long time ago that a key principle to success is keeping a journal. So, based on that idea I kept a journal every day for almost 5 years. It was pretty elaborate. I would write Scripture and then tell about my day.  There were a lot of stories of success and failure. There were also a lot of stories in there about my kids.

I think I gave up because I made it too hard. So I went in search of an easier way to journal. And an easier way to keep track of the important things without giving a lot of time to it. There is a lot of information out there on journaling. Everybody has a way to do it. So I took ideas from a lot of different people and summarized my journaling into a few questions. I would like to share them with you. Maybe you have always dreamed of writing a journal but have never been able to get it going. I hope this is helpful to you.

Just so you know you can use anything to journal in or on. I like composition books. The feel of the pen in my hand against the paper is something I enjoy. I know some people who use their computer. And still others who use loose leaf paper. The bottom line, it doesn’t really matter. Use what is comfortable to you.

I have divided my journal up into morning and evening sections.

Here is what I do in the morning. I use starter sentences to help spur my thinking.

  1. I am thankful for…..
    1. Family
    2. Church
    3. Peanut Butter
  2. What would make today awesome?
    1. Peanut Butter
    2. Peanut Butter Sandwiches
    3. Peanut Butter Pie
  3. What are you going to do to get that awesome day?
    1. Buy peanut butter
    2. Eat peanut butter
    3. Make a peanut butter pie (and eat it)

And that is it for the morning. I also leave a space at the bottom of the page to write a little bit about what happened the day before. But other than that it takes about 5 minutes to complete this exercise. All you have to do is write those three sentences and then fill them in with something other than peanut butter answers. (FYI if you do write all peanut butter answers then we would get along well)

In the evening there are only two sentences that I complete. Here they are.

  1. What are 3 amazing things that happened today?
    1. Answer 1
    2. Answer 2
    3. Peanuts were made into peanut butter.
  2. How could I have made today better?

I also allow some room at the bottom of the night page to write a few details about the day. By leaving only a small space at the bottom of the page to write it keeps me focused and keeps me from rambling.

There is one more thing that I do. My time with the Lord usually happens right before I write in this journal. So I keep track of prayer requests on the morning page too. It helps me remember to pray for them in the morning and then I see them again at night to remind me to pray again.

This is a new approach that I am taking to journaling. It has helped me focus on some goals so far. I hope it is helpful to you.

What process do you use to journal? I would love to hear. Leave a comment below.